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New York Life insurance review 2020

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This big-name insurer boasts perfect ratings from all four major rating agencies.'s rating: 4.5 / 5


  • Get a quote if you want to customize your coverage with a wide range of riders.
  • Choose something else if you want to get a indexed universal life insurance policy.

18 to 90

Issue Age

0 to $300,000



Medical Exam Required


Free quote Phone, Online
Policy options Term, Whole, Universal, Variable
Term lengths 10, 20 years
Monthly cost Not listed
Claim methods Online, Phone, Mail
Ratings A.M. Best: A++ Fitch: AAA Standard & Poor's AA+ Moody's: AA
Available states All 50 states and DC
Customer support Phone, Email
Riders Accidental death benefit rider, Critical illness benefit rider, Long-term-care rider, Return-of-premium rider, Return-of-cash-value rider, Spouse rider, Waiver-of-premium rider

Expert review

Julia Cameron

Review by

Julia Cameron is a writer and editor who has experience in finance, mergers and acquisitions, content marketing and immigration law. She has a passion for interior design and an affinity for Old Florida, where she lives with her family.

Expert review

New York Life is an industry giant with a strong lineup of life insurance policies. It’s easy to compare your options online, and coverage is comprehensive, which makes it easy to find a policy that’s tailored to your needs.

That being said, you can’t apply for a policy online, and term life policies only stretch as far as 20 years. To explore your options, compare life insurance companies.

Best of 2020
Finder experts pick New York Life as a 2020 best brand for life insurance.

What types of life insurance coverage does New York Life offer?

This company sells both term and permanent policies:

  • Term life insurance. Available in terms of 10, 15 or 20 years, these term life policies offer fixed premiums and a death benefit if you die during the term. New York Life also has an annual renewable term life policy that starts with low premiums that increase annually, this is a good option for people who want insurance for a short period of time, and want to convert to a permanent policy in the near future.
  • Whole life insurance. The simplest permanent policy, offering lifelong coverage at level premiums. It builds cash value over time, and policyholders have the potential to earn dividends based on the insurer’s profits.
  • Universal life. This permanent policy accumulates cash value, offers flexible premiums and death benefits. You’ll have a wide range of universal life options to meet your specific needs.
  • Variable universal life. Suitable for those with a higher risk tolerance, this policy invests the cash value into investment accounts of your choice. You’re also free to adjust the premiums and death benefits.

What riders can I add to my life insurance policy?

Depending on your policy, you may be able to add these common riders to your coverage:

  • Accelerated death benefit rider. Also called living benefits, this rider allows you access to a portion of your death benefit if you’ve been diagnosed with a terminal illness. You’ll pay a fee once you use this rider.
  • Accidental death benefit rider. If you die as a result of an accidental injury, the insurer will pay an additional benefit of up to $300,000.
  • Child term rider. Extends your level term insurance to cover a child in your home. An upgrade to permanent life insurance is available when the child reaches age 25, the insurer reaches age 65 or when the child marries, whichever comes first.
  • Chronic care rider. A tax-free portion of your base policy benefits are paid out if you become chronically ill. Payment can be spread over a period of 25, 50 or 100 months.
  • Guaranteed insurability rider. Referred to as the policy purchase option, this add-on allows you to purchase additional insurance later without having to take a medical exam.
  • Waiver of premium rider. Should you become completely disabled for six months or more, this rider waives your policy premiums through the maturity of the policy through age 100. This rider can be added later, but you’ll have to go through underwriting again.

New York life also offers these riders angled to benefit permanent life insurance policy owners:

  • Guaranteed minimum accumulation benefit rider. Provides a minimum guaranteed return on the performance on a variable universal life plan. This means your return rate won’t drop below a certain level, even if the market falls. Although, you have to own your policy for at least 12 years to qualify for this rider.
  • Guaranteed minimum death benefit rider. This rider guarantees a death benefit no matter how the market is performing, as long as you meet the required premium and don’t violate the loan requirements.
  • Overloan protection rider. If you’ve taken a loan against your policy, this rider protects you from a lapse in your policy due to outstanding or significant loans.
  • Spouse’s paid-up insurance purchase option rider. This rider gives your spouse the right to purchase a new paid-up life insurance policy without providing evidence of instability.

    Pros and cons of New York Life insurance


    • Long list of riders. The insurer allows policyholders to customize their coverage with a wide range of riders.
    • Financial strength. New York Life has top ratings with all four financial agencies, including an A++ (Superior) rating with AM Best. This means it has the money to pay out claims.
    • Informational website. Unlike a majority of its competitors, this insurer has an easy to navigate website that offers tons of policy details in plain language.


    • Term lengths capped at 20 years. Some insurers offer coverage lasting up to 25 or 30 years, but New York Life stops at 20 years.
    • No online quotes. You can input your information online, but have to contact a representative for pricing information.

    Compare alternatives to New York Life

    Name Product Issue Ages Minimum Coverage Maximum Coverage Medical Exam Required
    LadderLife™ Life Insurance
    Term life insurance with no policy fees and the freedom to cancel anytime. Simple application process that can get you approved for coverage instantly.
    Depends on provider and policy
    Compare affordable quotes from 12+ A-rated life insurance companies side-by-side.
    Affordable 10- and 20-year term life insurance policies with instant quotes and no medical exams.
    Depends on policy
    Get affordable term life insurance with accelerated underwriting or no-exam coverage up to $1,000,000. Available in all states except CA, NY and MT.
    Haven Life
    Customized term life insurance policies up to $3 million, no medical exam for certain applicants.

    Compare up to 4 providers

    New York Life insurance reviews and complaints

    New York Life isn’t accredited by the Better Business Bureau (BBB), but it has an A+ rating for its customer interaction. The BBB has recorded 75 complaints over the last three years, which is relatively low numbers for an insurance company. Customers award the insurer 3 out of 5 stars.

    On TrustPilot, New York Life has earned 3.5 out of 5 stars — though this is based on one review.

    How do I sign up for New York Life insurance?

    You’ll need to chat with an agent. Follow these steps:

    1. On New York Life’s homepage, click Don’t have an agent yet from the Contact Us tab.
    2. Select your financial goals, or click Skip to talk to a financial professional now.
    3. Enter your contact information, including name, address, phone number, birthdate and email address. Then, click Submit.
    4. An agent will contact you within a couple of business days to discuss your policy options.

    How do I file an insurance claim with New York Life?

    To file a claim with New York Life, you can call an agent at 800-695-9873 weekdays from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. ET.

    You can also visit the claims page on the New York Life website to start the process by inputting information about the policyholder and your contact information.

    1. Visit the New York Life website.
    2. Click Claims at the top of the homepage.
    3. Click Start a claim.
    4. Scroll down and fill out the required information, then click Submit. A New York Life agent will follow up within one business day.

    Frequently asked questions about New York Life

    Life insurance ratings

    ★★★★★ — Excellent

    ★★★★★ — Good

    ★★★★★ — Average

    ★★★★★ — Subpar

    ★★★★★ — Poor

    Our experts analyze life insurance companies to help you to find the strongest possible policy and premium for your family’s needs. We assess their financial strength, customer satisfaction, policy features and riders. We then give each insurer a score between one and five stars that reflects their offering and reputation in the industry.

    Learn more about our methodology here.

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